WAKING UP TO THE OTHER HALF
OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S POLITICAL CONVERSATION

TRENDING TOPIC WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4TH: Since making landfall in Puerto Rico over two weeks ago, Hurricane Maria has wreaked havoc on the island, and most of its residents still lack access to electricity and clean water. We leave you with Florida State Representative Robert Asencio’s comments on this topic.


STATE REP. ASENCIO ON PUERTO RICO RELIEF: Bernadette Pardo spoke with Florida State Representative Robert Asencio about relief efforts for Puerto Rico on her show “Pedaleando con Bernie” on Radio Mambi 710 AM.

Pardo highlighted how Asencio recently returned from Puerto Rico, where he was helping with disaster relief and taking stock of the island’s needs. He said, “things are incredibly difficult from what I was able to see.” Asencio described how there were major streets that were still blocked in the capital, San Juan, by large posts and other debris. “Even though they are getting some help, unfortunately, there are things that are still happening where people aren’t getting aid. One of the reasons for this is that the resources were all getting into one center, and then there wasn’t any transportation to get it out into the public. That is why we needed the Army to come and not just provide control, but to take resources across Puerto Rico. With helicopters we can take resources to all parts of the island, and do air drops and we need more personnel to help distribution.” When asked about Trump’s ability to help and make people in the island feel like things are going to get better, Asencio said, “there are two trains of thought: one, that his presences has helped alleviate a bit, and the other, that the things he said made people angry and caused confusion.” He continued, “when he referred to the budget and how Puerto Rico has cost the United States a lot of money, that is something that we pay taxes for. If there is more movement and more resources arrive to Puerto Rico, then that will be the true test to determine if Trump’s presence helped.” Pardo then asked about the potential immigration from Puerto Ricans to Florida and if any steps have been taken to help those that come. Asencio said, “when I spoke to people when I was there, many of them said that they didn’t want to go, but that they also couldn’t stay. There is an estimate that a third of the island is going to leave. I was one of the legislators who sent Governor Scott a letter two days after the hurricane hit asking that we do two things: one, send the National Guard and the second, to start preparations to welcome those that are leaving the island.”


SEN. GARCIA ON THE ISSUES: Humberto Cortina spoke with Florida State Senator Rene Garcia about plans for the next legislative session on his show “Al Ritmo de Miami” on Radio Mambi 710 AM.

Cortina started by asking Garcia about his plans and the budget in the next session. Garcia said, “I have always been very proud of being able to represent this community. I focus on representing Miami-Dade as a whole, not only my district. With the current group of senators there isn’t a division like there was in the past. We are always working together to make sure that Miami-Dade get all the benefits and services it needs. We have our eyes wide open to see what is coming from the House, as well as from other senators to make sure that we are getting our fair dues. We also have to continue to keep an eye on those programs that are in the county, because there are programs at the state level that can be better and where more can be done with less. As leaders in the state, we have to find ways to make sure things work. I don’t believe in throwing money at a problem we have to reward success, we should give money to programs that have been successful and show us that they are progressing with the community.” Cortina asked what would be the most important issue that they are going to have to address in the upcoming legislative session. Garcia responded, “something that I am working on now, is the problem that we have with people who have addictions and mental health issues. Unfortunately, in our community and in this state we are not giving these issues enough attention and this is a problem across the United States as well. These issues have become an epidemic because when I speak to people, someone always knows a person or has family that has been addicted to drugs or has been affected by mental illness, but it’s not something that they openly talk about. However, this is something that is not just costing us money, but it is also costing us lives and we are seeing this with the opioid crisis that is happening nationwide.”